Cornerback Eric Wright left the Detroit Lions for a big contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year, but could he be headed for free agency again?
Shortly after NFL free agency opened last year, the Detroit Lions lost cornerback Eric Wright to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While the Lions would have liked to retain Wright, they had no interest in giving out a contract like the one he received from the Buccaneers. Wright's five-year deal with Tampa Bay came with a $37.5 million price tag, an amount that took many by surprise.
Now, nearly a year later, it looks as though Wright may be headed toward the free-agent market yet again. According to PewterReport.com (via Pro Football Talk), the Buccaneers are likely going to release Wright before the team begins its OTAs. Since Wright's salary for 2013 is no longer guaranteed thanks to the suspension he received in 2012, the Buccaneers have the flexibility to release him, and it seems they may make a move before the possibility of an injury enters the picture and risks putting them back on the hook for what he is owed in 2013.
While Wright managed to get a pretty big contract from the Buccaneers last year, his value has dropped quite a bit since then. An undisclosed illness hampered his offseason workouts, and an arrest for suspicion of DUI made headlines in July. The charge was dropped, but it was not good PR for Wright or the team. It also wasn't good PR for either party when Wright was hit with a four-game suspension during the season for testing positive for Adderall. He only ended up playing in 10 games in 2012, and he had 39 tackles, 7 pass defenses and 1 interception.
The reason I bring this story up is because I'd have to imagine the Lions would give Wright a look should he be released. Wright probably won't be getting another big contract if he does become a free agent, meaning the Lions may actually be able to afford him this year. He played pretty well for them in 2011, and if they can get past the incident from last July and the suspension, I think he'd be a nice value signing, much like he was when they first added him to the team in 2011.
I especially think Wright would be a worthwhile addition should the Lions lose cornerback Chris Houston to another team. Houston is set to become a free agent, and I have a feeling he will be this year's Wright in terms of getting a deal that the Lions can't afford. Losing Houston would create a big hole in the Lions' secondary. Actually, there will be holes in the secondary even if they do re-sign him, and adding a player like Wright, who the Lions are familiar with, would be a nice boost to their depth at cornerback.
Obviously this all hinges on the Buccaneers releasing Wright, and it doesn't necessarily seem like this situation will be resolved before free agency actually opens. However, this is certainly a situation worth keeping an eye on if you're the Lions. With Wright's value dropping, they likely could get him for an affordable deal, and adding someone who is out to prove his doubters wrong has worked well in the past, as evidenced by his first stint in Detroit.